Why is Forgiveness in a Marriage So Important?

Discover why forgiveness in marriage is crucial and how it can bring you closer to your spouse. Uncover the power of letting go, healing wounds, and creating a stronger bond together.

forgiveness in a marriage

Dive into real-life stories and practical tips that will help you navigate through the ups and downs of married life. Don’t miss out on this must-read blog post about forgiveness – because love always finds its way back when we learn to forgive!

Is forgiveness essential in marriage?

Forgiveness is an essential ingredient in a successful marriage. It is an essential tool that couples need to navigate the ups and downs of their relationship.

Without forgiveness in a marriage, resentment and bitterness can start to brew, creating a toxic environment that can ultimately lead to the breakdown of the relationship.

In order for a marriage to thrive, both partners must be willing to extend forgiveness and show grace to one another. It is not always easy, but forgiveness is what allows couples to move forward and heal from past hurts.

As author Gary Chapman once said, “Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment.” Choosing to forgive in marriage is a commitment to letting go of grudges and choosing love over resentment. It is an act of kindness and understanding that can lead to greater intimacy and connection.

In the words of Mother Teresa, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.”

The importance of forgiveness in marriage

Forgiveness is an integral aspect of any successful marriage. Not only does it play a vital role in the healing process, but it is also the key to fostering trust, understanding, and long-lasting love between partners.

When it comes to forgiveness in marriage, it is often easier said than done. Many couples find themselves stuck in a cycle of hurt and resentment, struggling to let go of past wrongs. Whether it’s a betrayal, a lie, or a hurtful word, forgiving your spouse can be a daunting task.

But, if you’re finding yourself saying, “I can’t forgive my husband for hurting me,” it’s important to remember that forgiveness is not just for their benefit, but for yours as well. It allows you to release the negative emotions that have been weighing you down and opens the door for healing and restoration in your relationship.

When you understand the importance of forgiveness in marriage, you realize that holding grudges and harboring resentment only creates further distance between you and your spouse.

couple experiencing the importance of forgiveness in marriage

The power of forgiveness in a relationship

The power of forgiveness in a relationship cannot be underestimated. It has the ability to:

  • Heal wounds
  • Mend broken hearts
  • Strengthen the bond between 2 individuals

In the context of marriage, forgiveness plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy and thriving partnership.

As mentioned in forgiveness in marriage scripture, it is emphasized that forgiveness is not only desirable but also essential for the success of any marriage. This highlights the importance of cultivating a forgiving attitude and mindset within the relationship.

The power of forgiveness in a relationship lies in the ability to let go of resentment and truly understand the emotions and motivations behind the actions. Through empathy and understanding, couples can begin to rebuild trust and strengthen their connection.

Marriage forgiveness quotes further emphasize the significance of forgiveness in a relationship. They remind us that holding onto grudges and resentment only leads to pain and strife, while choosing forgiveness creates space for love and growth.

It is through forgiveness that couples can move past their mistakes and rebuild trust.

However, forgiveness is not always an easy task. It requires effort, understanding, and commitment from both partners.

How do you show forgiveness in a marriage?

There are many ways to show forgiveness in a marriage. Each couple is going to manifest it differently. Here are some ways to show forgiveness in a marriage:

  • Acknowledging the pain to begin moving forward
  • Being understanding
  • Putting yourself in your spouse’s shoes
  • Letting go of the pain
  • Not holding a grudge
  • Not bringing up past mistakes
  • Making forgiveness a habit – with big and small instances
forgiveness in a marriage pin

5 steps to forgiveness in marriage

There are 5 steps to forgiveness in marriage. In a relationship, forgiveness is a journey that often unfolds in stages. These stages may vary depending on the individuals involved and the circumstances of the offense. Understanding these stages can help couples navigate the process of forgiveness more effectively.

For the sake of simplicity, think of a time your spouse did or said something that hurt you. Now let’s dive into the 5 steps:

Step #1: Acknowledge the pain

If you push the pain away, it will fester and become a lot harder to forgive. You can go through the rest of these steps and think you’ve forgiven your spouse.

But if you’ve never dealt with the pain, you can’t truly move forward. Allow yourself to grieve the loss of trust and security.

Sit down and think about the following:

  • How do your spouse’s actions or words make you feel?
  • What sensations do you feel in your body?
  • Where do you feel them?
  • Does this bring up anything from your past or childhood?
  • Does this bring up any unresolved issues in your marriage?

Remember, it’s okay to feel anger, sadness, or disappointment; these emotions are valid.

Step #2: Express emotions

You can’t keep your emotions in. Trust me, I’m the worst about this and need to take my own advice. I’d rather bottle up my feelings and tuck them safely away.

But I’ve learned time and time again that your emotions always have a way of coming out. You can choose to let them out in a healthy way now or let them fester and explode later. Here are some healthy ways to express your emotions.

Have an open and honest conversation with your spouse about how their actions have affected you. Expressing your feelings and allowing your spouse to truly understand the impact of their actions can be a powerful step towards healing. This conversation should be approached with kindness and a genuine desire to rebuild the relationship.

wife thinking "I can't forgive my husband for hurting me"

Step #3: Try to understand

Talk to your spouse about the why. Find out the answers to these questions:

  • Why did your spouse do what they did? (Or say what they did?)
  • Was there something going on with your spouse? (stress, sadness, resentment, anger, etc)
  • Did your spouse actually mean to hurt you? Why?

We all make mistakes. So put yourself in your spouse’s shoes and choose to see the good in them. Figure out what truly happened from your spouse’s point of view.

Step #4: Rebuild trust and make amends

Honesty is just as important in a marriage as forgiveness. The actual process of making amends and rebuilding trust will be up to your spouse. But you play a role in this too. Here’s what each of you can do to rebuild trust:

What your spouse can do:

  • Acknowledge that they hurt you
  • Think of ways to keep this from happening again
  • Communicate how you can help them grow

What you can do:

  • Talk to your spouse and be open about your feelings
  • Think of ways your spouse can regain your trust
  • Kindly express ways your spouse can make you feel better after this pain
  • Suggest ways your spouse can keep from doing this again
  • Ask how you can help

Simply by approaching this step as a team, you are already working to rebuild the trust that was lost. Here are some more ideas on how to make amends.

Step #5: Let go and move forward

In the end, you need to find a way to let go of the pain and incident. Find a way to move forward together. You both need to move past this incident and vow to not let it cloud your marriage.

An important part of moving forward is to not hold a grudge. There will be times a past hurt will come up. But don’t let it become a pain in the present.

As part of moving forward, think about incorporating appreciation into your marriage. You’d be amazed by how much it can help!

forgiveness and marriage go hand in hand

7 steps to forgiveness in a Christian marriage

In a Christian marriage, forgiveness holds even greater significance. The Bible teaches us the power of forgiveness and that we should forgive others just as God forgives us. Forgiveness is not just a choice, but a crucial component of a healthy and thriving marriage, especially in a Christian context.

The 7 steps to forgiveness in a Christian marriage are very similar to the steps mentioned above. However, there are a couple of extra ones that are more Christian-focused.

Forgiveness in a Christian marriage often involves repentance, seeking God’s guidance, prayer, and relying on biblical principles for forgiveness and reconciliation.

Step #1: Acknowledging the hurt

The first stage is acknowledgment, where both partners recognize the need for forgiveness and accept that a hurt has occurred.

This stage requires open and honest communication, allowing each person to express their pain and emotions. It is crucial to create a safe space where both partners can share their perspectives without judgment or defensiveness.

Step #2: Express your feelings

Both you and your spouse need to understand each other. To do this, you need to express your feelings.

Open up so that your spouse can know how a particular incident made you feel. It’ll help pave the way for future trust.

Step #3: Seek forgiveness from God

As Christians, we believe forgiveness is important. And forgiveness must come from more than just each other. We need to be forgiven by God.

Turn to prayer and ask the Lord for reconciliation for yourself and your spouse. Turning to your faith in times of need can give you strength to get through the tough times.

quotes on forgiveness in marriage

Step #4: Extend forgiveness to your spouse

Follow God’s example. If you are truly repentant and ask for forgiveness, He will forgive you.

Do the same for your spouse. Forgive your spouse as many times as God has forgiven you. (There’s a great Bible verse about this mentioned in a section below!)

Step #5: Rebuild trust

You cannot move forward if you don’t regain trust in each other. Sit down with your spouse and figure out some ways you can both build the trust in your marriage.

Step #6: Seek help and guidance from your faith community

In times of trouble, it can be helpful to seek guidance from your faith community. Join a group at your church. Share your struggles with them.

These kinds of groups are wonderful for lifting you up when you are feeling very low. They can help provide you with the spiritual strength that you may be lacking.

Step #7: Make a renewed commitment in your marriage

Marriage is work. But the commitment and dedication you put into it is so worthwhile.

You and your spouse are going to falter. But you both need to pick yourselves up and be ready to start over. Each and every time. Your marriage is worth it.

By following these steps, you allow forgiveness to take root, paving the way for healing, reconciliation, and a stronger marriage.

couple working on forgiveness in a marriage

What does God say about forgiveness in marriage?

Forgiveness in marriage is not only advocated by relationship experts but also emphasized in the Bible. It encourages couples to forgive as God forgives us and promotes reconciliation and restoration.

The Bible reminds couples that just as God forgives our sins, we too should extend forgiveness to our spouses. This perspective helps couples evaluate the importance of forgiveness in a marriage and encourages them to work towards a more forgiving and harmonious relationship.

Forgiveness is not just important in marriage; it is an essential aspect of it. In fact, how failing to forgive can negatively impact a marriage cannot be overstated. As human beings, we are bound to make mistakes, hurt each other, and fall short of expectations. However, the ability to forgive allows couples to move forward and rebuild trust and intimacy.

If you’d like to learn more about Christian marriage, you’ll love this list of 31 Christian marriage books.

Bible verses about forgiveness in a marriage

Fortunately, scripture provides us with guidance on forgiveness in marriage. The Bible repeatedly emphasizes the importance of forgiveness and the role it plays in fostering healthy relationships.

In Ephesians 4:32, it states, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” This verse highlights that forgiveness is not just a suggestion but a commandment for married couples. By forgiving one another, we follow the example of God’s forgiveness towards us, creating a space for healing and restoration in our marriage and allowing love to prevail.

Recognizing the power of forgiveness in a relationship, as highlighted in the forgiveness in a marriage bible verse in Matthew 6:14-15, can serve as a source of inspiration and motivation to move forward. According to this verse, God emphasizes the importance of forgiving others so that we may also receive forgiveness.

Here are few more Bible verses about forgiveness in a marriage:

“[And] be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.” Ephesians 4:32

“Bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.” Colossians 3:13,

“Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22.

These scriptures highlight the significance of forgiveness in maintaining a healthy and thriving marital relationship. By embracing biblical forgiveness in marriage, couples can deepen their love and strengthen their bond.

Marriage and forgiveness Bible verses emphasize the need to let go of grudges and extend grace to our partners. These verses teach us that forgiveness is not only about releasing the hurt and resentment but also about showing love and compassion.

They encourage couples to practice forgiveness as a foundation for healing and reconciliation in their marriage. Through the power of biblical forgiveness in marriage, couples can experience true peace and restoration in their relationship.

If you’d like to incorporate more prayer into your marriage, check out this 30 day praying for your husband challenge.

quotes on forgiveness in marriage

How failing to forgive can negatively impact a marriage

Failing to forgive in a marriage can have profound negative impacts on the relationship. It can lead to:

  • Resentment
  • Bitterness
  • Breakdown of trust

This will ultimately damage the emotional connection and intimacy in a marriage.

When resentment and grudges are allowed to fester and grow, they create a toxic environment that erodes trust, emotional connection, and intimacy. Holding onto past hurts and refusing to forgive can lead to a breakdown in communication, as partners become defensive and unwilling to engage in open, honest conversations.

This lack of communication can then snowball into larger issues, as unresolved conflicts continue to pile up, creating a sense of bitterness, anger, and frustration between spouses. Ultimately, failing to forgive can significantly undermine the foundation of a marriage, making it difficult to build a strong and lasting partnership.

The failure to forgive can also perpetuate a cycle of negativity within a marriage. When one partner refuses to forgive the other, it often breeds resentment and a desire for revenge.

This can lead to a pattern of hurtful behavior, as the unforgiving spouse seeks to inflict pain and punishment in return. This cycle of negativity can quickly spiral out of control, damaging the emotional well-being of both partners and causing irreparable harm to the marriage.

It is crucial to recognize that forgiveness is not only about letting go of the hurt but also about breaking this cycle of negativity and fostering an environment of healing and growth.

If failing to forgive has hurt your emotional intimacy, read this post on how to rebuild it.

wife thinking that there are things you can't forgive in a relationship

What to do when your spouse won’t forgive you

When facing the challenging situation of a spouse refusing to forgive, it is important to approach the issue with compassion, understanding, and patience.

Give your spouse space and reflect on your actions

If your spouse is having a hard time forgiving you, you need to take a step back. Take the time to reflect on your own actions and how they may have contributed to the breakdown of trust and forgiveness in the relationship.

Acknowledge your mistakes and show remorse

Acknowledge any wrongdoing or mistakes you may have made, and genuinely express remorse for your actions. By showing genuine remorse and taking responsibility for your behavior, you can create an atmosphere of sincerity and openness, increasing the likelihood of your spouse being willing to reconsider their stance.

If you can’t own up to your actions, your spouse is going to have a much harder time forgiving you. If you don’t fully understand what you did that was so wrong, ask your spouse. Listen without judgment. Try to see the instance from your spouse’s point of view.


Next, it is crucial to have open and honest communication with your spouse. Try to create a safe and judgment-free space where both of you can express your feelings and concerns.

Encourage your spouse to vocalize their reasons for being unwilling to forgive, and actively listen without becoming defensive. Additionally, make sure to validate their emotions and let them know that you understand the pain and hurt they are experiencing.

By showing empathy and actively trying to understand their perspective, you can demonstrate your commitment to changing and improving the relationship.

Be patient

Remember, healing takes time, and pressuring your spouse to forgive instantly may only deepen the wounds. Being patient and understanding during this period can significantly contribute to rebuilding trust.

couple trying to experience forgiveness in a marriage

Things you can’t forgive in a relationship

Forgiveness is not just about making amends with the person who did something wrong to you. It’s also about healing yourself. Giving forgiveness is good for your soul.

I understand that there are things in a relationship that are hard to forgive. But if you truly can’t forgive, you do end up hurting yourself.

That being said, let’s get into some of the things you can’t forgive in a relationship:


Infidelity, especially repeated infidelity, can be very hard to forgive. It can be difficult to regain trust after your spouse has cheated on you.


Physical or verbal abuse is not ok and has no place in a marriage. It would definitely be difficult to forgive an abusive spouse.

In both of these cases, I would advise seeking professional help. They can help you address the complexity of the situation and find ways to help you move forward.

Another action that can be hard to forgive is a consistent lack of effort or investment in the relationship. When one partner repeatedly neglects their responsibilities or fails to prioritize their partner’s needs, it can create resentment and feelings of being unimportant. This lack of commitment can erode the foundation of the relationship, leading to a breakdown in trust and emotional connection. It becomes challenging to forgive when you feel like your partner is not meeting you halfway or making an effort to address the issues at hand. In such cases, forgiveness may require significant introspection and effort from both partners to rebuild the trust and commitment that has been lost.

couple working on forgiveness and marriage

How to forgive your spouse for cheating

Infidelity is one of those things that can shake the foundation of trust and hurt the bonds of love. Discovering that your partner has cheated on you can leave you feeling betrayed, heartbroken, and questioning the future of your relationship.

The impact of infidelity is deep, leaving scars that may never fully heal. It challenges the very essence of the commitment you once shared and can make forgiveness an arduous journey. While forgiveness is possible in some cases, it is important to acknowledge that cheating is a boundary crossed that may be irreparable for some couples.

Forgiving a spouse for cheating is a challenging process, but it starts with:

  • Open and honest communication
  • Seeking therapy
  • Setting boundaries
  • Allowing time for healing
  • Committing to rebuild trust

Cheating in a marriage is undoubtedly a painful and devastating experience. It can shatter trust, leave scars, and challenge the very foundation of a relationship. However, forgiveness is possible, and it can pave the way for healing and reconnection.

To forgive your spouse for cheating requires immense strength and a genuine commitment to rebuilding your marriage. It is essential to acknowledge and process your pain, communicate openly with your spouse, and seek professional help if needed. Healing takes time, and it is crucial to be patient with yourself and your spouse as you navigate this difficult journey together.

In the process of forgiving your spouse for cheating, it is vital to establish boundaries and expectations moving forward. Rebuilding trust will be a gradual process, and both partners must be willing to take responsibility for their actions and demonstrate genuine remorse.

Rebuilding intimacy and connection will also be essential, as rebuilding a broken marriage requires deliberate effort and intentional acts of love and affection. Ultimately, forgiveness is a choice, and it is up to you to decide if you can find it in your heart to forgive your spouse and move towards a healthier and happier future together.

If you need extra help with forgiveness, check out HeyRitual! They’re an online couples counseling service. They make it easy to get the help your marriage needs. Read my review here.
quotes on forgiveness in marriage

Final thoughts on forgiveness in marriage

Remember that forgiveness is essential to a healthy marriage. It’s also essential to your own personal wellbeing. You won’t be very happy in your marriage if you carry around grudges from past hurts.

Talk to your spouse and find a way to move forward together. There is always a solution.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! How do you and your spouse forgive? What steps do you take to be able to move past the pain? Let me know your thoughts below in the comments.

If you enjoyed this post and are ready for more, you’ll love this one about conflict resolution in marriage. It takes the steps we discussed in this post and applies it to conflict resolution as a whole.

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